One of the hallmarks of adulthood is buying adult furniture. We start off with hand-me-downs, then maybe move on to Craigslist or IKEA. When we’re finally ready to take the next step, West Elm is a popular stop. Its merchandise looks appealingly mid-century and stylish in its catalog and website photos, the kind of real furniture that hopefully can set us up for a while.

Or so one would think. One such hopeful consumer, Anna Hezel, penned an essay for The Awl about how awful her $1,200 West Elm “Peggy” couch is: “Why Does This One Couch From West Elm Suck So Much?” She describes in great detail the sofa’s disintegration, including a penchant for losing buttons. West Elm replies by sending her a button repair kit that was two months on back-order, suggesting that Hezel was not the only Peggy owner with this particular problem. As Hezel becomes obsessed with her crappy couch and starts to dig further, she discovers many Peggy owners with similar complaints, on Instagram and West Elm’s Facebook and Yelp pages. Sample testimonials include these:

  • “To have created a detailed training guide with colored pictures on how to repair your sofa means you’ve probably received hundreds, if not thousands, of calls, emails and visits about this awfully made Peggy sofa. You have to do better, West Elm.”
  • “I have furniture from IKEA that is 6+ years old, that has moved across the country (twice!) that has held up better than this couch.”
  • “This is literally the worst couch I’ve ever bought.”

Hezel’s story ends happily when her couch finally collapses, so that she can buy a new one and move on with her life. But other modern furniture enthusiasts would do well to consider her cautionary tale. On to Z Gallerie!

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